Video Surveillance Systems - part 2.
This newsletter is a follow-up to last week's article on Video Surveillance and how every Laundromat should have a video surveillance system. Last week we discussed how to figure the number of cameras needed.
Video Target Areas
We also mentioned that we want our cameras to focus on 3-4 different target objectives. These objectives are 1.) an overview of the entire Laundromat, 2.) the bill changers or card system, 3.) a good Mug shot of each person entering the Laundromat and lastly 4.) your employees and their work areas.
Since we now have an idea of the number of cameras, now we need to consider the DVR requirements, the required resolution and how long we want the recorded images to be stored. The current "standard" for resolution is the "D1" standard (or really the size of the image being 720x480 pixels in resolution). This will provide excellent video quality and is the currently provides the best value in quality and price. Resolution along with the number of cameras, the frame rate (frames per second) along with the hard drive storage capacity will give you the length of time a recording will stay in the system before being written over. There is a handy calculator just for this purpose.
Ordering the System
Now we know the size of the DVR storage, the number of cameras, and their placement; now you can to order your system and get the ball rolling. There are several good manufacturers of nice systems including NightOwl, Swann and Security Camera King. Technology changes very fast and what may be the current standard will be obsolete in 3-4 years. (Moore's Law) Be sure to discuss your objective and your planned usage of the video surveillance sales specialist to make sure you get all the features you need and require. Tell them how you want to use the system and ask them what else the system can do.
Installation of your camera system is relativity simple. You can hook up everything in your office and play around with the system before you bring it to your Laundromat. You will need a tall step ladder (high enough to reach the ceiling) and electrical wire ties to hold & secure the wires out of the way. Run the wires above your hung ceiling or in Wiremold (if you have a sheetrock ceiling and no access to the attic). Mount the DVR in a safe and secure location where it will be out of the way and not easily accessible. Some people hide their DVR's or secure them in locked closets so if someone does break into their Laundromat that the DVR has a chance of being safe and for you to retrieving images of the burglar. If you are planning to upgrade your DVR system, you may want to consider keep the old unit in plain sight in your back room and install the new unit hidden up in the ceiling. This way the bad guy will take (or break) your old unit, but you will still have your video images on your new hidden DVR. Most of the newer DVR units do not need to be touched and can be fully accessed via the internet. Install it and forget it.
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